Culture at the Heart of Regeneration -
A North East perspective
Prepared for: Culture North East
Prepared by: John Sargent
The Ideas Mine Limited
John Buddle Work Village
Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 8AW
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Executive summary 3
Icons, cities and beyond 5
A sense of place 15
Delivering for communities, with communities 26
Making the economic case 32
Issues arising 36
The 16 questions 38
This report is based on desk research and face-to-face interviews,
conducted between late January and late March 2005. It is not exhaustive –
the subject is too large, complex, and controversial to be captured in such
a short exercise.
It aims to provide a more detailed commentary on the impact of culture-led
regeneration in the North East, drawing out existing evidence to support
the joint regional response to Culture at the Heart of Regeneration
Since the study is a more detailed commentary on CATHOR, it adopts the
same structure (four main sections, each interrogated with related
Case studies are employed to illustrate key issues.
The brief for this study did not ask for recommendations. However, some
significant issues in relation to the North East experience of culture-led
regeneration came through so strongly, that a section on „Issues Arising‟
has been included.
1 Executive Summary
In June 2004, the Department of Culture Media and Sport published Culture
at the Heart of Regeneration (CATHOR), which attempted to identify and
understand the role that culture plays in the regeneration of cities, towns,
The North East response (issued by the Government Office for the North
East, Culture North East, the North East Assembly, the Association of North
East Councils, and One NorthEast) broadly supported CATHOR‟s position,
particularly endorsing the three priority areas for action, which were:
to build partnerships between central government departments,
regional bodies, local government and the private and voluntary
sectors to better understand the processes of regeneration and the
role that culture can play, and to build and promote sustainable
to help those involved in delivering regeneration to understand
what works, what the success factors are, and how to measure
to strengthen the evidence base of culture‟s role in regeneration,
particularly evidence of long-term impact.
While the North East response did not directly answer the 16 questions that
underpin CATHOR, it did commit to undertake research that would provide
a more detailed analysis of the impact of culture-led regeneration in the
North East. The result is Culture at the Heart of Regeneration – A North East
The study has identified many interesting and successful examples
of culture-led regeneration in the region, and shows that the North
East has a strong claim for providing best practice case studies.
It also highlighted a central theme in CATHOR: the methods used to
measure the impact of transformational projects only capture part of
There is universal acceptance in the North East of the need to gather
empirical evidence of the impact of investment in cultural projects.
But there is also a widespread desire for a language which better
articulates the more holistic public value of culture-led
Currently, the situation is confused: evidence is not readily
available; it is collected and organised in a number of different
ways; and when it is available it is of variable quality.
People have become skilled at producing compelling funding
applications for regeneration projects in ways which fit the criteria,
rather than in ways which accurately reflect their intentions. The
scale of a cultural organisation has a direct impact on the quality and
depth of the information that it can provide. Inevitably, the impact of
small scale, community-led, cultural projects is therefore less
readily articulated or understood.
This report concludes that a new, more inclusive framework for
capturing a broad spectrum of indicators of the impact of culture on
regeneration is needed.
2.1 Icons, cities and beyond
CATHOR asks how we can make sure that landmark cultural buildings
achieve the right balance between maintaining cultural excellence and
relevance to their local communities.
The collapse of traditional industries (coal mining, shipbuilding, heavy
engineering and, in the rural areas, farming), a diminishing population,
and the widening economic divide with the South, marked a serious
decline in the fortunes of the North East in the latter part of the 1980s.
A quarter of a century later, the region is a very different place. New
industries (particularly in the creative sector) are thriving, tourism
revenues are rapidly increasing, and the North East boasts a number of
world-class cultural facilities.
Because the decline was so deep, the market case for private investment
was weak and it was left to the public sector to lead the charge. Local and
regional authorities have been engaged in an unprecedented programme
of regeneration, and striking a balance between cultural excellence and
relevance to the communities they serve has been a guiding objective.
The Discovery Museum in Newcastle is a good example. To ensure that
development plans for the Museum had real relevance to the local
community, visitor research was commissioned to inform the design
process and ensure that the specific needs of a diverse range of audiences
would be met.
The process was effective; the Museums Outreach Online project (based at
Discovery Museum) found in 2002 that 4.8% of its users were of ethnic
origin (as against 1.8% of the Tyne and Wear population as a whole), and
77% of museum users were drawn from inner city Newcastle.1
The Clayport Library in Durham, winner of the Library Council‟s 2003
best new public library in the United Kingdom and Ireland award, is
another example of a landmark project designed in collaboration with the
community it serves. The library is the result of partnership working with
New College Durham, Education in the Community, Connexions, the
Education Department, and local voluntary groups in Durham County, as
well as a team effort from library staff. The award recognised the
significant positive impact that the library has had on the lives of the
people in Durham City and surrounding area.
The Sage Gateshead is another example of a landmark cultural
development successfully balancing cultural excellence and relevance to
Griffiths, B (2005) Tyne and Wear Museums Service Benchmarking Statistics
the community it serves. Long before the opening of the £70 million Sir
Norman Foster-designed building, an outreach and educational
programme was established region-wide. It visits after-school childcare
groups, youth clubs, active older people, frail older people in care homes,
local businesses, parent groups, amateur groups, carers, school excluded
young people, young people at risk, and mental health service users.
When the Sage Gateshead did open, on 17 December 2004, the project‟s
community roots were acknowledged. An audience of 15,000 mainly local
people experienced a weekend of world class music free of charge.
By Easter 2005, it had presented 150 performances and events, over 1,500
education and community sessions were held in the building (as well as the
continuing programme of outreach work). A varied programme ranged
from the St Petersburg Philharmonic to Roy Ayers, world music to tea
dances and Ceilidhs, and club nights to string quartets. Sales consistently
The Sage Gateshead was featured on all main national radio and TV
networks (including two national television relays on Christmas Day), and
hosted the Labour Party Spring Conference, the National Union of Teachers
annual conference, and the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards.
The developments at Gateshead Quays have brought a remarkable
collection of landmark cultural buildings together in one place over a
relatively short period of time. The Quays therefore offers an intriguing
opportunity to examine the balance between cultural excellence and
relevance to the local community.
2.1.1 Case study: The longitudinal study of Gateshead Quays
Gateshead Quays is the historic heart of Gateshead. A prosperous
settlement in the Roman times, it became one of the focal points for
industries in the North East during the Industrial Revolution and Victorian
The area fell into decline in the 1970's and 1980's as those industries
declined. In the 1990‟s Gateshead Council, together with cultural and
commercial partners, developed a strategy to revive the riverside through
the development of world-class arts, leisure and residential facilities.
The development of Gateshead Quays therefore offered a unique
opportunity to track the social, cultural and economic impact of culture-led
An ambitious research project, known as CISIR (The Cultural Investment
Strategy Impact Research) was initiated with a remit to map and evaluate in
rigorous quantified terms the social, cultural, economic and regenerative
impact of the Quayside development over the decade 2000 – 2010. The
programme is co-ordinated by the Centre for Cultural Policy and
Management at the University of Northumbria, and represents an
opportunity that has no immediate parallels in the United Kingdom, and no
exact equivalent anywhere else in the world.
The project seeks to establish not just the facts about activity levels,
attitudes and participation, but also to establish appropriate measures for
the long-term impact of such developments. CISIR is also concerned to
address the impact of arts investments on the overall cultural life of the
area and to measure any changes in attitudes and aspirations among the
The economic statistics are impressive:
£150M public sector investment in cultural facilities has levered in
£1Billion private sector investment in the greater Gateshead Quays
investment levels are running at £5million per acre - unheard of in
Gateshead or the North East
3000 new homes have been built in the waterfront area,
accommodating approximately 10,000 new residents.
the residential development adjacent to The Baltic Gallery set new
levels for residential values in Gateshead, achieving 50-80% higher
prices than expected. (This was never envisaged as a low-cost
housing development: Gateshead has other sites for affordable
because of the successful investment in the arts projects on the
Quays, the Baltic Business Park proposals have been trebled in
scale, from 0.5 million square feet to 1.5 million square feet.2
An organic process, the expectation has always been that CISIR would
evolve as time went on. Therefore, while the study was designed to capture
rigorous, direct indicators of regeneration, an attempt to capture indirect
indicators (the community‟s sense of well-being, for example) has latterly
been introduced to the study.
This reflects the demands of the funders, but it also represents a growing
understanding from that economic outputs do not tell the whole story.
2.2 Rural regeneration
CATHOR asks what role culture plays in tackling the complexities of rural
regeneration, and what evidence exists of what works best.
Devlin, J 2005: email to John Sargent 09 April
The main population centres of the North East are along the river corridors
of the Tyne, Tees and Wear. Approximately 70% of the region's population
lives in these riverside conurbations3, which developed to serve the
traditional industries of mining, shipbuilding, steel and heavy industry. A
number of these settlements are in rural and semi-rural locations and the
industries around which they formed have declined dramatically.
There are a number of other urban centres south and north of the Tyne and
Wear conurbations, and central and east County Durham. The remaining
two thirds of the region are rural in character and relatively thinly
populated. In contrast with many other rural parts of the country, the
region does not have a network of medium sized rural settlements.
The rural population, with its fragile infrastructures and economy, faces
very different challenges to the urban community, as the national outbreak
of Foot and Mouth Disease in February 2001 - which began at Burnside
Farm, Heddon-on-the-Wall, in Northumberland – demonstrated.
The process of regeneration of rural areas, therefore, throws up a very
different set of challenges to those in the urban environment. However,
culture is as much a driver in the country as it is in the town.
Killhope North of England Lead Mining Museum, for example, has
made much of its remote rural location. Beating competition which
included the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, it was named the first
Guardian Family Friendly Museum of the Year in February 2004.4 In
Haltwhistle, the Vindolanda Trust’s Roman Army Museum, on Hadrian‟s
Wall, is now a major employer, with 48 staff.
One NorthEast, the regional development agency (RDA), is conscious of
the role of culture-led regeneration in rural areas. For example, it is
exploring the potential to stimulate entrepreneurialism in rural
communities. It is now working in partnership with the regional Museums
Hub to explore a strategy to develop training in traditional trades and rural
crafts. Both agencies believe that new markets for “traditional” goods and
services present opportunities for new rural businesses.
Tourism – another key priority for the RDA - offers significant potential for
culture-led rural regeneration. Research5 established that tourism accounts
for 10% of the regional economy, and although the urban offer –
particularly in NewcastleGateshead – draws the lion‟s share of visitor
spend, rural Northumberland, Durham and the Tees Valley is fertile
ground for development.
2001 census figures available at www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/censusNEast.pdf
Guardian staff (2004) Killhope Tops for Kids The Guardian, February 6, 2004
The RDA is working in partnership to develop a more sophisticated
business support network to stimulate the growth of tourism, and it is
dedicating very significant investment to help it to grow.
The private sector is also aware of the opportunities: the two-year-old Art
Café in Corbridge - a coffee bar, wine bar and art gallery rolled into one -
was named best Cultural and Creative Business at the North East Woman
Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2004.6
The Alnwick Garden is another example of a cultural project set in a rural
area which has made a dramatic impact on the county – and on the region
as a whole.
2.2.1 Case study: The Alnwick Garden
The Alnwick Garden opened to the public in October 2002. A study
commissioned by Northumberland Strategic Partnership from Caledonian
Economics Ltd. in 2002 and 2003 revealed that the Garden has already
made an economic impact on the tourism economy of the North East and
that further significant benefits would accrue from the continuing
development of The Garden.7
The study indicated that the £42 million development will generate
economic rates of return for the region, including multiplier effects, of 20.1
per cent on capital invested.
Total investment in the Garden by December 2005 is expected to top £32
million; £6.9 million from Single Programme Funding through both One
NorthEast and Northumberland Strategic Partnership programmes; ERDF
has contributed £7.8 million, with the remaining £17 million coming from
the private sector through loans, sponsorship and gifts.
Economic Benefits to the North East
It is anticipated that when complete, the scheme will generate up to £150
million over ten years in economic benefits - a 200% return.
In 2003, while still only one third complete, Alnwick Garden attracted
530,000 visitors. 52% were from outside the region, spending over £13
million - £45.50 per person – during their trip. The percentage of overseas
visitors is forecast to double from 4% in 02/03 to 8% in 05/06, and the value
of visitor spend to regional economy based on 04/05 figures is expected to
rise to £27.9 million (£64 per head.)
Available at www.artscouncil.org.uk/pressnews/press December 2004
Available at: http://www.alnwickgarden.com/media/download_presspack.asp
The Garden is committed to addressing the wider social inclusion agenda
and is meeting this through a range of specific initiatives around learning
and Skills Development. There are currently 90 programmes in operation
which have delivered in excess of 14,000 learning opportunities. These
include developmental activities for around 80 volunteers, a schools
programme developing activities for the 14 – 19 years vocational
curriculum. A total of 980 individuals have benefited from a Healthy Living
programme, with more due to benefit from the roll-out of a Drugs
Awareness programme, and 460 local residents from deprived wards have
experienced training and employment opportunities through the Access to
The Learning programme was enhanced in January 2005 by the opening of
the Tree House, which has purpose-built classrooms and resource
The Alnwick Garden is having a significant impact on employment and
education in Northumberland.
The Garden is expected to generate at least 445 full time direct and
indirect jobs in the region8.
2004 estimates now show that in the next two years the project will
influence the creation of 60 new businesses, support 103 existing
businesses and attract 30 new ones to Northumberland.
Economic Impact on Alnwick town
A significant number of planning applications have been made for
increased tourist bed-space provision in Alnwick since the opening of The
Garden and, for the first time, visitor accommodation in the town was fully
booked throughout the summer of 2003. The Alnwick Tourist Information
Centre has seen an increase of 100% in accommodation bookings,
enquiries and footfall since the Garden opened.
Research9 has already shown that:
Of the visitors from outside the North East region over half stay in
On average 600 visitors a day go on to visit the town
Caledonian Economics Ltd (2002 and 2003) Economic impact study commissioned by
Northumberland Strategic Partnership
Caledonian Economics Ltd (2002 and 2003) Economic impact study commissioned by
Northumberland Strategic Partnership
88% of local businesses have seen an increase in their takings from
the second quarter of 2002 compared to the second quarter of 2003
with an average increase of 30%
The Garden is attracting a younger audience with a 25% increase of
the 25-44 age group and children being 16% of overall visitors
2.2.2 Beamish Open Air Museum is another, longer established,
example of a landmark cultural project which has had a major impact on
Case study: Beamish Open Air Museum
Beamish Museum was established in 1970 as "an Open Air Museum for the
purpose of studying, collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting
buildings, machinery, objects and information illustrating the development
of industry and agriculture and way of life in the North of England".10
The first thirty five years of the Beamish project have been a remarkable
success. The Museum supports more than 900 regional jobs, and is an
important resource for regional suppliers, accommodation providers, and
others in the heritage and leisure economy. It has direct marketing links
with 882 SME locations within the region (and up to 2045 SMEs in the
region as a whole). Over eight million visitors have been attracted to the
Museum since it opened and of those, six million were tourists from outside
the region. At current prices, this would represent a regional spend of
around £1,100 million.11
In terms of visitor numbers, the high point for Beamish was the period from
1987 to 1991, fuelled in the first instance by a programme of very
significant capital investment aimed at both improving the visitor
attractions and the infrastructure which supports them. Following this
investment, visitor numbers exceeded half a million for the first time.
A strategy to regain the very high visitor numbers of those years has now
been launched. The „Beamish, Museum of the Region‟ project proposes a
£20 million capital investment programme to create new displays and
Available at http/www.beamish.org.uk
Beamish Open Air Museum Project Script, 2003
Figure 3 Beamish Visitor Numbers since Opening
Visitors - bold outlines denote significant price changes
500000 Actuals Estimates
Source: Beamish Open Air Museum
Figure 4 Employment
Fig. 3: Net gained, safeguarded, and deadweight jobs relating to the Beamish Projects.
The effect of Beamish Capital Programmes on Regional Jobs
1200 Beamish Museum of Region Jobs
1000 Beamish Tourist Attraction Jobs
800 Safeguarded Jobs
600 Deadweight Jobs
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Source: Beamish Open Air Museum
2.2.3 Heritage Coastlines
While the rural environment is challenging, it also offers very real benefits.
A study12 of the economic value of the heritage coastlines, national parks
and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the North East demonstrated
that through the effort of businesses and the effects of tourism, these areas
generated output of £700 million and supported 14,000 jobs. The majority
of businesses considered the quality of the landscape and the environment
to be a factor in their performance.
One NorthEast (2004) The Economic Value of Protected Landscapes in the North East of
„High art‟ can be as much a component of regeneration packages in rural
as in urban settings. A continuing programme of visual art began in Kielder
in 1995, a year before the Year of Visual Arts, and has evolved and
expanded up to the present day. The programme was developed by the
Kielder Partnership as part of its‟ sustainable tourism strategy, which aims
to increase both the number and diversity of the visitors to the area.
Landmark work includes James Turrell‟s Cat Cairn: The Kielder Skyspace,
and the Minotaur Maze at Kielder Castle (the only building in the North East
to win a RIBA Award in 2004). A previous building commissioned by the
Kielder Partnership - the Belvedere - won both a RIBA Award and the
prestigious Stephen Lawrence Prize in the year 2000.
John Cuthbert, managing director of Northumbrian Water and chairman of
the Kielder Partnership, said13: "The Kielder Partnership is fully committed
to supporting economic development of the area through sustainable
tourism and leisure initiatives. We are delighted with the impact of the
continuing art and architecture programme and firmly believe that these
new additions will further enhance Kielder's growing reputation as a major
CATHOR contends that strong leadership is a pre-requisite of cultural
innovation. However, innovation can be controversial, and is often opposed
by local communities. CATHOR asks how a balance between leadership and
meeting the needs and aspirations can be met.
2.3.1 The North East has many examples of strong leadership at the head
of transformation projects: the Duchess of Northumberland at The Alnwick
Garden, the Birley family at Vindolanda, and John Cuthbert of the Kielder
Partnership are some of them. Without their vision, commitment and
leadership these projects would not be what they are today.
Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council demonstrated how leadership
by an organisation, rather by an individual, can have a dramatic impact on
cultural innovation. In the early 1980s, the Borough had nowhere to exhibit
contemporary art, which it was keen to do. The Council therefore decided
to take art to the public with a series of outdoor installations. This
innovative and creative approach encouraged debate and a sense of
involvement. These early works were so successful that in 1986 the
Authority launched its formal public art programme.
The 1990 Gateshead Garden Festival offered an excellent opportunity to
consolidate: the Festival featured more than 70 artworks, and the public
response was overwhelmingly supportive. Twenty years after the public
art programme started, Gateshead has a legacy of more than 30 major
works by leading artists such as Richard Deacon, Andy Goldsworthy, and
Antony Gormley - most paid for with cash won from sources such as the
Urban Programme, Arts Council, Northern Arts, Henry Moore Foundation
and local sponsors.
Derelict areas and open spaces have been rejuvenated; landmark
buildings have been created; many prizes have been won. All this has
been accompanied by a careful and respectful programme of community
involvement: the entire community has witnessed the developing
programme of art, and thousands, from children to pensioners, have had
participated directly by making their own art at the Shipley Art Gallery
and the annual sculpture day.
This activity is crucial, and helped the leadership demonstrated by the
Council to be accepted and endorsed by the community through a shared
understanding and vision.
After he was commissioned, but before work began on the Angel of the
North, Antony Gormley‟s ‘Field for the British Isles’ was shown in a disused
railway shed in Gateshead. The community experienced Gormley‟s work
first hand, and the relationship between the artist and the community had
The design of the Angel was widely publicised, and a miniature model
went on tour. By the time construction began, the community was engaged
and supportive. Famously, this affection was sealed with an Angel-sized
version of Alan Shearer‟s number nine shirt, draped over the wings at the
dead of night.
The journey to the construction of the Sage Gateshead was equally careful,
inclusive and respectful.
Leadership is important if ambitious projects are to succeed. „For the most
part you need a big institution to front big projects;‟ said Dr Bartlett,
Regional Director of the Heritage Lottery Fund.14 „The risk alone is too
much for smaller organisations,‟ he said. The Grace Darling Museum in
Bamburgh is an example: until the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
stepped in, the Heritage Lottery Fund could not confidently support the
project. Under the RNLI‟s wing, a major fund-raising campaign has been
Bartlett, K (2005) Interview with John Sargent 24 February
launched (with HLF support) and the museum is undergoing extensive
3 A sense of place
Many claim that public art has impacts beyond its aesthetic value, but
CATHOR found little evidence of this. It therefore asks if there are ways of
measuring its wider impact, and for examples.
Gateshead Council‟s 20-year-long public art programme has coincided
with a remarkable renaissance of the Borough and on the face of it, there is
a clear relationship between the two. But this is too simplistic: „There are so
many contingent factors that the hunt for causation is doomed,‟15 according
to Professor Christopher Bailey of the University of Northumbria.
At the same time, it is arguable that a world-class piece of public art – the
Angel of the North – for example, has clearly delivered impacts beyond
its simple aesthetic value. “Few people would question that the Angel has
had an immense impact,” according to the Council16. “Literally immense –
we do not believe we can sensibly measure the full economic and social
impact that it has had. We could theoretically measure every column inch
of publicity that the Angel continues to attract [and place an economic
value on it]. But we think that DCMS needs to discuss with partners how we
might develop a methodology for moving beyond concrete measurement
to recognise that some work has a value that can be accepted without the
usual evidence. Even the harshest early critics of the Angel project now
accept that it is good for Gateshead without us having to present them with
scientific evidence. We are meanwhile co-funding a longitudinal study for
the economic and social impact of the development of Gateshead Quays
by the University of Northumbria. Our argument is not that conventional
measurement is not important, the problem is, we will always fall short of
being able to demonstrate the full value of culture if we depend entirely on
an empirical approach.”
Others agree: “Economic indicators, though significant, can only tell a
“An over-reliance on quantitative data is also a mistake precisely because
culture in all senses of the word is a multi-faceted phenomenon. The
cultural sector, in particular, can no longer afford to measure the wrong
things for the wrong reasons”18
An „over-reliance on quantitative data‟ makes little sense from the creator‟s
perspective. “As a rule, artists are not motivated by money, but by a desire
Bailey, C (2005) Interview with John Sargent 17 February
Gateshead MBC (2004) Response to CATHOR
Lingayah, S., MacGillvray, A and Raynard P. (1996) Creative Accounting: Beyond the
Hamilton, C (2003) Culture and Regeneration, European Perspectives: An RSA/RSC debate,
Gateshead 7 October
to create. Therefore, the rules of economic performance which are
employed by development agencies, for example, are not sufficient,”
according to Judy Seymour, of the Northern Cultural Skills Partnership.
It may be that the most valuable assets the region has are beyond
measurement. “….. the idea that perhaps our most valuable cultural asset
is the people of the region coupled with their sense of place has
increasingly centralised the needs of the citizen in policy development
work. The distinctive character of people and place, as championed by the
Regional Cultural Strategy, is the principal defining factor in our region
today. The raised profile, the improved socio-economic conditions, and
greater confidence evident in many parts of the North East have, in some
part at least, stemmed from this particular advantage.”19
When the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) investigated the
issue in 2003, “…regional stakeholders frequently mentioned „public
realm‟ and „culture‟ as significant issues in regional economic
performance. However, the examples given tended to be in an anecdotal
rather than analytical form,” 20
The desire for a methodology that captures a broader spectrum of
indicators is articulated by Nic Marks, Head of Well-being Research at the
New Economics Foundation. He welcomed the launch, on 7 March 2005, of
the Government‟s sustainable development strategy, „Securing the Future‟
which committed to creating "a new indicator set, which is more outcome
focused, with commitments to look at new indicators such as wellbeing".
Gateshead MBC echoed this view by positing the need to “develop a
methodology for moving beyond concrete measurement to recognise that
some work has a value that can be accepted without the usual evidence”.
Culture North East agrees: „There remains a need however to develop a
coherent, comprehensive and nationally significant cross-sectoral research
agenda that is not bound by a reliance on quantitative impact and short-
term results. Culture is multi-faceted and any proposals for establishing a
grounded objective evidence base needs to reflect this fact‟ 21
Crucially, cultural investment operates on a much longer time-frame than
economic development, which makes it very difficult to meet the more
urgent needs of development agencies. “If you are trying to make a
difference in culture you can‟t do it in five years” said Professor Roy
Grant, O (2005) The Revised Regional Cultural Strategy for the North East of England, p 5
Smith, R (2004) Regions and Quality of Place – Economic Evidence‟ Urban Policy
Directorate, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, email to English Heritage, 7 September
Regional Cultural Strategy, 2005 p 9
Boyne, R (2005) Conversation with John Sargent 09 March
The Longitudinal Study of Gateshead Quays acknowledges this. An
ambitious attempt to capture meaningful evidence of the wider impact of
culture-led regeneration, the study began in 2000 and will be complete ten
The award winning programme of regeneration of Grainger Town in
Newcastle offers not just an award-winning example of public art exerting
influence beyond its aesthetic value, but a body of evidence which reflects
3.1.1 Case study: Grainger Town
In the 1980s and early 1990s, this once prosperous area of the city was
overtaken by new centres of retail and commercial activity. Grainger
Town‟s economic base was eroded, leaving properties to fall into
In 1996, English Partnerships, Newcastle City Council and English Heritage
drew up proposals for a major regeneration scheme - the Grainger Town
Regeneration Strategy. That Strategy formed the basis for a successful bid
for Single Regeneration Budget funding to support the six-year Grainger
Town Project. It was completed in March 2003.
Although the business and residential populations were in serious decline,
a „network of interests‟ was created in order to involve the communities of
Grainger Town. A partnership was then created, which included
community interests as well as Newcastle City Council, English
Partnerships and English Heritage.
The Grainger Town Project brought together funding from several public
sources, including SRB (£11.006m), English Partnerships (£25m), the City
Council, English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and other sources.
A key aim of the project was to use public funding to lever-in private sector
investment. In his evaluation of the project, Professor Fred Robinson
concluded that the Grainger Town project was “a comprehensive strategy,
linking to broader themes of economic, social and cultural development.
The vision was to make Grainger Town „a dynamic and competitive
location‟, with a „high quality environment‟; a place with a „reputation for
excellence...focused on leisure, culture and the arts, retailing, housing and
entrepreneurial activity.‟ “ 23
“From the start, the Partnership worked to build confidence in the area,
demonstrating commitment to change and to an „ethos of quality‟. High
quality improvements to the public realm helped to generate confidence
and the Partnership developed strong relationships with the private sector.
Robinson, F (2003) The Final Assessment of the Grainger Town Project, St Chad‟s College,
University of Durham
Refurbishment schemes supported by the Project brought buildings back
into use for retailing, leisure, offices and residential accommodation. Major
schemes were undertaken, such as the re-use of the former Binns store for
retailer T J Hughes and „The Gate‟ cinema/leisure development. Latterly,
the regeneration programme has also emphasised art and cultural
initiatives, including public art, creative lighting and new facilities for
Dance City and the Waygood Gallery.
“The Project‟s performance as measured by the achievement of outputs
has been good, especially in relation to physical regeneration and private
sector investment. Private sector investment by March 2003 reached over
£145m, almost double the original target of £74m. 121 buildings have been
brought back into use, compared with a target of 70. The targets for jobs
created and housing completions have not yet been reached, but it is
expected that these targets will be attained when outstanding projects, still
underway, are completed. By 2006, it is forecast that private sector
investment will have reached £194m and public sector funding will amount
to £45m, so that total investment will be around £240m.
“The economic revival of Grainger Town is reflected in the growth of retail
and office rental values. Retail rentals have increased significantly in the
northern part of the area, while rents for refurbished offices on Grey Street
are now on a par with rents for modern offices on the edge of the city
centre. After a long period of decline, there is an upward trend in
employment; total employment in Grainger Town grew by 14% between
1996 and 2001. There is strong demand for residential accommodation,
with housing now being provided for sale as well as for rent.”
“The Grainger Town Partnership is widely regarded as a demonstration of
„what works‟. The key ingredients of its success have been real
partnership, with the agencies and individuals involved sharing a common
purpose and sense of „ownership‟ of the Project.
Professor Robinson identified the key ingredients of success:
Strong partnership between the Project and the private sector; the
private sector trusted and felt supported by the Grainger Town
Personal commitment of Board members, staff and people involved
with the Forums and Panels. Also continuity of involvement - the
Chair, Vice Chair and Project Director stayed for the lifetime of the
Confidence was nurtured by high profile, public realm
improvements and the promotion of the area, its heritage and
regeneration, all with a strong emphasis on an „ethos of quality‟.
Substantial funding, drawing together resources from several
agencies, gave the Project credibility and clout.
The potentially undermining decision which ruled out gap funding
was handled carefully and productively.
The Project benefited from a favourable economic context; it went
with the grain of wider economic and social trends and connected
well with a rising property market.
Figures for the Project‟s key outputs are presented below.
Figure 1 Grainger Town Project outputs
Output Actual Forecast Lifetime Target
March 2003 March 2006
Jobs created 1506 2299 1900
Construction job 82658 119866 89980
Training weeks 5080 5080 5415
New businesses 286 329 199
Buildings brought 80900 123952 74000
back into use (m2)
Private investment 289 572 522
New houses 289 572 522
Buildings brought 121 131 70
back into use
Private investment 145,650,000 194,884,000 74,000,000
Source: Robinson, F (2003) The Final Assessment of the Grainger Town Project, St Chad‟s
College, University of Durham
Figure 2 Grainger Town Project investment
SINGLE REGENERATION BUDGET £11.006m, 1997-2003. £8.186m capital,
£2.799m revenue expended
ENGLISH PARTNERSHIPS/ONE £25m originally pledged by EP. Funding
NORTHEAST responsibility subsequently
transferred to the Regional
Development Agency, One NorthEast
(Land and Property Fund). £11.373
expended by 3/03. Expenditure
expected to total £22.5m by 3/05.
ENGLISH HERITAGE £0.940m expended by 3/03, principally
Partnership and its successor, Heritage
Scheme (continues to 3/04).
NEWCASTLE CITY COUNCIL £3.220m by 3/03. Includes contributions
to public realm works,
English Heritage schemes and staff
secondments to Project
Delivery Team (Council expected to
contribute a further £9.8m for
East St James‟ Boulevard scheme)
HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND £0.084m for Grey‟s Monument
EUROPEAN COMMISSION £0.769m by 3/03; includes business
(ERDF/ESF) support and training initiatives.
OTHER PUBLIC SECTOR £0.821m expended by 3/03.
PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT Initial target of £74m by 2003.
IN £145.650m investment achieved by
DEVELOPMENTS SUPPORTED BY 3/03; (£194.884m forecast by 3/2006).
GRAINGER TOWN PROJECT
Source: Robinson, F (2003) The Final Assessment of the Grainger Town Project, St Chad‟s
College, University of Durham
It is expected that public sector investment in the Project will finally
amount to £45m and private sector investment is forecast to reach more
than £194m by 2006. Total investment will therefore be around £240m by
2006. In terms of leverage, the gearing ratio is 1:4.3, considerably better
than the original forecast made at the start of the Project, of 1:1.8.
Economic revival is particularly evident in retailing and leisure. Retail
rental values have increased by 60% since 1997, well above the national
figure of 34% growth.
After a long period of decline, there is now an upward trend in
employment. By 2001, total employment in Grainger Town had reached
11,469, a 14% net increase on the 1996 baseline figure of 10,065, and the
number of businesses had apparently stabilised.
Another important element in the area‟s revival has been an increase in the
residential population, as new housing opportunities have been created
and living in the city centre has grown in popularity. Since 1996, Grainger
Town‟s population has increased by 43%, to an estimated 1077 (source:
City Council Policy and Research Services).
Subsequently, private sector developers began to develop housing for sale
- a new and untested market in Grainger Town. The first such scheme, at
Pudding Chare, received funding support from the Project but the market,
at least for more expensive properties in the central part of the area, has
become so strong that developments are now being undertaken without
the need for public subsidy.
Grainger Town has also become more vibrant through cultural and arts
activities. The Project funded a programme of cultural events, and public
art works have been installed throughout Grainger Town.
3.3 Capturing cultural value
In researching the value of a programme of temporary public art
installations during 2003 and 2004, Durham County Council wished to
capture both direct and indirect indicators of their impact. Apart from
recording the numbers of visitors, their views and comments were sought
through questionnaires and graffiti boards. Presentations by the artists,
and public meetings elicited views ranging from the emotional and
aesthetic to the instrumental. “Particularly revealing was the value placed
upon the programmes by schools and young people, both in relation to the
curriculum and in developing critical awareness.” 24
The research revealed that 87% of children who attended a two-day art
workshop wanted more sculpture in the park, 79% said that the workshops
were better than they had expected them to be, and 82% of families who
attended a sculpture day rated it as excellent.
Staff at County Hall, which is adjacent to the land which housed the
installations, were also surveyed. The majority (81%) had taken the trouble
to visit the sculpture park, and 77% said that it improved their working
environment. When asked if it was right that the Council should use its
resources to fund the initiative, 75% agreed.
Northern Film and Media addressed the issue in their report The Impact
of Film on Tourism.25 The direct economic benefits of inward investment,
and the cash that film companies spend while in the region are relatively
easy to work out (in 2003 that film companies spent £4.15m, creating
22,522 days of work and spending more than £1.5m on local hotels,
equipment, catering and post production, apparently) but there is growing
evidence that film can provide longer-term benefits to an economy
“Academics argue that exposure on film generates and sustains interest in
a destination in a way that local and national government cannot do,”
according to the report.
The New Zealand Institute for Economic Research (NZIER) cited a report
(Scoping the Lasting Effects of the Lord of the Rings) which claims that Peter
Jackson‟s films will have: “… a general impact on the task of creating a
more complete picture of this country and its prospects, to audiences
around the world. This effect would link up with the work going on in
other areas of generic New Zealand brand marketing – particularly in
tourism – and could, by leaving a positive impression of the country,
create opportunities for a range of New Zealand experiences or products.”
NZIER argues that the Lord of the Rings trilogy will help to build a New
Zealand brand, making film-goers, and potential tourists, want to visit the
Empirical evidence is essential if the impact of culture-led regeneration is
to be understood. However, some have argued that an over-reliance on
quantitative data is two-dimensional when it comes to a multi-faceted
Conway, P. (2004) Report to the Cabinet of Durham County Council, 28 October and
response to CATHOR
Mapplebeck, W. (2004) ‘The impact of film on tourism’ Northern Film and Media
phenomenon like culture. “The cultural sector, in particular, can no longer
afford to measure the wrong things for the wrong reasons.” 26
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has acknowledged the
problem: “Too often politicians have been forced to debate culture in
terms only of its instrumental benefits to other agendas.” she has said. 27
The desire for a broader assessment base for cultural value is addressed
by John Holden of the independent think-tank DEMOS. He proposes a
“wholesale re-shaping of the way in which public funding of culture is
undertaken…we need a language capable of reflecting, recognising and
capturing the full range of values expressed through culture. Some of these
values may be covert and naturalised, they may co-exist or conflict, but
only with clarity about what they are can we hope to build wide public
support for the collective funding of culture.” 28
Patrick Conway, of Durham County Council, suggests partnership as a way
forward. “At a regional level the essential partnership has to be between
the RDA and the Cultural Consortium. It would be beneficial were the key
national NDPB‟s – Arts Council, Sport England, Museums, Libraries and
Archives Council, English Heritage to agree an embracing framework. A
similar approach from lottery distributors would be beneficial. At a local
level, it might be helpful for DCMS to discuss with ODPM the possibility of
making cultural services more central to the work of local strategic
partnerships,” he said.29
4. Making it happen
CATHOR asks what more can be done to include culture in regeneration
strategies and programmes.
4.1 In the North East, key strategies – the Regional Economic
Strategy and the Regional Spatial Strategy, for example – are being used to
influence planning decisions and encourage developers to be more
Theme 3c of the Regional Spatial Strategy, for example, states: “The
region‟s built and natural environment together are an important resource
and major asset, both in their own right and as a necessary component in
contributing to economic growth, regeneration, health, and quality of life
in the region. Creating and retaining high quality and attractive
environments is important in encouraging tourism; providing leisure,
recreational and cultural opportunities; providing a sense of well-being; as
Hamilton, C (2003) Culture and Regeneration, European Perspectives: An RSA/RSC
debate, Gateshead 7 October
Government and the Value of Culture (2004) DCMS
Holden, J (2004) Capturing Cultural Value Demos
Conway, P. (2004) Report to the Cabinet of Durham County Council, 28 October and
response to CATHOR
well as being an essential element both to successful regeneration and to
improving the image of the region.”
However, achieving cultural impact is challenging. The cultural sector has
no equivalent to the Health Impact Assessment, for example. “Culture has
to make a case for itself in a way that other policy areas – health for
example - don‟t,” 30 according to Elaine Wallace, Policy Officer for Social
Issues at the North East Assembly. Until the wider value and influence of
culture on communities is recognised and articulated, this is likely to
remain the case.
The INSPIRE project, South-East Northumberland‟s Public Art Initiative,
has achieved a measure of success however. A partnership between
Wansbeck District Council, Blyth Valley Borough Council, Northumberland
County Council, SENNTRi and Greening for Growth, it receives financial
support from all three councils, Arts Council England and the
Northumberland Strategic Partnership.
The project aims to operate at both a strategic level through advocacy and
policy development, and at a delivery level through the commissioning of
approximately 30 pieces of public art in the next two financial years. To
meet this expectation it includes a dedicated post to provide both the
capacity and expertise to implement this broad programme.
The project‟s recommendations for action are that:
it will act as an exemplar for the integration of high-quality public art
and design into new buildings, by ensuring the integration of artworks
into public or publicly-funded buildings and regeneration schemes.
This principle should be enshrined in guidelines provided to architects
and landscape designers contracted by the project.
a clear statement is included in the replacement Local Plan requiring
private developers to incorporate public art and design into planning
applications for all medium/large commercial or residential
developments, and to liaise with the Public Art Officer on this issue.
the creation of a centrally-held Suspense Account to cover the
maintenance of public art during a three year „establishment period‟
Local authorities have the potential to include cultural elements in
regeneration programmes. During the development of Segedunum
Museum, for example, North Tyneside Council took the opportunity to
regenerate the surrounding derelict structures. The Segedunum Business
Centre now occupies three buildings and has several tenants, including
the North Tyneside Blind Society.
Wallace, E. 2005 Interview with John Sargent 15 March
Hartlepool Borough Council‟s regeneration programme is another
4.2 Case study: Hartlepool Marina
In the late 1980s, significant areas of Hartlepool were run-down and
depressing. The local council therefore devised a regeneration strategy
built around cultural opportunities. The return to Hartlepool for restoration
of HMS Trincomalee, the world‟s second oldest warship afloat, offered the
opportunity to consolidate developments around the old Jackson’s Dock.
A new Museum of Hartlepool was built adjacent to the new Historic
Quay visitor attraction, which subsequently won the Good Britain Guide
Living Museum of the Year award in 2002-03, the Northumbria Large
Visitor Attraction of the Year award of 2002. It was the first heritage
attraction in the North-East to achieve VisitBritain Visitor Attraction Quality
A parallel regeneration began in the town centre, where City Challenge
supported projects including the creation of a new square, and the
conversion of a redundant church into a regionally recognised new art
gallery and Tourist Information Centre.
Visitor figures for Hartlepool maritime heritage
The visitor figures demonstrate the success of the maritime heritage
initiatives: of the charged-for attractions, the Historic Quay now receives
60,000 visitors a year, while 20,000 people visit HMS Trincomalee. The
free-to-enter Museum of Hartlepool (which includes the Hartlepool-built
Humber paddle ferry Wingfield Castle) is visited by 100,000 people, while
a further 50,000 see the Art Gallery in the old Christ Church. After sifting
out the double counts, the total number of visitors is thought to be around
150,000 compared with 40,000 before the strategy was developed.31
The visitor profile at the Historic Quay over the year comprises 45% from
the north-east region excluding Hartlepool, 21% from Hartlepool itself, and
34% from beyond the region; for Trincomalee, a slightly more specialist
historic maritime attraction, the respective figures are 42%, 7% and 51%.
At the free Museum of Hartlepool a larger proportion of visitors are local.
While 12% had visited once before and 35% had been more than once,
53% were new visitors. Of the visitors to the Historic Quay, a third made a
further payment to HMS Trincomalee.
Arup Consultants, 2005: Economic Social and Cultural Impact Assessment of Heritage in
the North East commissioned by North-East Historic Environment Forum/One NorthEast
Direct economic activity
The developments have created significant economic opportunities: in-
house cafeterias operate on PSS Wingfield Castle and Hartlepool Art
Gallery; the cafeteria and function suite in the Historic Quay is run on a
franchise basis; a restaurant leases land on the Historic Quay; Trincomalee
is run by a charity; cleaning and out–of-hours security is provided by a
private sector contractor.
Almost 2,600 jobs have been created in the print, design, marketing,
restaurant and hospitality industries. The Marina Travel Inn, established in
the mid-1990s, has recently been doubled in size; at Navigation Point, on
the east side of the marina, new apartments have been built, and a
flourishing bistro and bar culture has developed.
5 Delivering for communities, with
CATHOR asks about the role of culture in strengthening communities and
bringing different social groups together.
5.1 South Tyneside’s Heritage Trail is an innovative example of
a cultural initiative which has strengthened communities and brought
social groups together.
Passing through most towns and villages in the borough, the Trail is 26
miles long and designed to help the community explore aspects of South
Tyneside‟s incredibly rich and diverse heritage.
Community involvement has been central to the success of the project. The
origins of the Heritage Trail lie within the community, which has been
actively encouraged to contribute throughout the Trail‟s development.
The growing regional cultural influence of the Sage Gateshead is another
example. A multitude of groups across the North of England are engaged
in creating music-led or music-focused projects to meet a wide range of
interests, from corporate training to support for mental health service
users. To the Sage, community involvement is a critical component of
In North Tyneside, the local authority acknowledges the value of
community involvement. “Research in this area suggested strongly that
community engagement to develop pride and self-esteem in an area is
critical to its success as a tourism destination.” 32
Actions flowing from the strategy include a programme of community
involvement events to develop an image or sense of identity locally.
Gowans, P. (2004) „Coastal Regeneration Strategy‟ Report to Cabinet, North Tyneside
Council, 21 September
Public parks and open spaces are prized cultural assets, partly because
they create a sense of community and provide leisure opportunities for
families. They are drivers of regeneration too: according to the
Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), homes
near good quality parks have a 5 to 7% price premium over identical
properties in the same area.33
“When people vote with their money it shows what kind of places they
want to live in – neighbourhoods with green spaces where children can
play safely, where they can easily walk or jog from home to a park for
exercise and relaxation.”
In contrast, under-investment over previous decades in parks and green
spaces has meant too many have been allowed to fall into neglect, acting
as a magnet for crime and deterring investment in an area.
In regenerating or creating new residential areas, green space is a vital
part of the infrastructure for those living there, they found. According to
CABE, Mowbray Park in Sunderland, together with other major
regeneration projects such as the Sunderland Museum and the Winter
Gardens, has helped to revive the fortunes of the city centre.
The Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle is a fine example of the role that
culture can play in strengthening communities and bringing different
social groups together.
5.2 Case study: The Ouseburn Valley
The Ouseburn Valley was the focus of the industrial revolution on
Tyneside. The built legacy from that period, mixed with a striking
townscape in a riverside location with extensive open space makes the
Valley a very attractive location. It is viewed by the people who live, work
and spend their leisure time there as an area affording many opportunities
for sustainable regeneration.
The key issue facing the communities involved in the regeneration of the
Ouseburn Valley has been how the opportunities for developing housing,
business and leisure can be maximised without destroying the Ouseburn‟s
unique character. External pressures, such as the demand for single high
value use, especially private sector-led residential development are
perceived as requiring intensive management to ensure the demographic
of Ouseburn is maintained.
However there are also distinct advantages in the Valley‟s location. It is a
key link for communities to the North of the City as well as those in the
East. Its proximity to the City Centre, the Quayside and international arts
CABE (2005) ‘Does Money Grow on Trees?’ March
and cultural developments such as the Baltic and the Sage at Gateshead
Quays has significantly increased the profile of the Valley.
The regeneration of the area is outlined in the Ouseburn Valley
Regeneration Strategy and strategic plan, which prioritises sustainability
through community participation as one of the key objectives to be
delivered by 2010.
The foundations for the regeneration of the Ouseburn Valley were laid by
the community. A group of residents living and working on the Newcastle
Quayside were dissatisfied by the lack of community engagement with the
development plans being pursued by the former Tyne and Wear
Development Corporation. They felt that the unique industrial and
community heritage of the Ouseburn Valley needed to be recognised by
all and incorporated into spatial development plans. In order to support
this ideal they formed a development trust, The Ouseburn Trust, a
company limited by guarantee which also has charitable status. The
Trust‟s vision is based upon mixed “urban village” development, the
protection of the environment and the heritage of the Valley and those who
live and work both within it and in areas adjacent to it.
Building on these foundations a partnership was created between the
Ouseburn Trust and Newcastle City Council to develop a proposal for the
Single Regeneration Budget Challenge Fund round 3. This “Ouseburn
Partnership” was one of only two in the region to be led by a voluntary
organisation; it consisted of 19 members drawn from the voluntary,
community, public and private sectors, making it representative of all
The Ouseburn Partnership delivered a number of successful projects
during its lifetime, and created a place where people now want to live,
work and spend their leisure time. The long-term future is more secure in
terms of attracting inward investment and demand for increased housing
and workspace. There has been a large increase in the number of visitors
to the area due to the completion of successful projects such as the £1.1
million Sports Lottery Funded Stepney Bank Indoor Riding Arena
delivering equestrian training, education and recreational opportunities -
the only facility of its type in the country. The opening of the National
Centre for the Children’s Book in August 2005 will continue the
programme of landmark cultural development.
Other notable successes for the Partnership include the development of a
derelict warehouse into social housing. The two bed apartments are fully
let and in high demand with an extensive waiting list. Work is currently
being undertaken to increase social housing through developing shared
equity properties and family homes for rent at another historic site within
the Valley. Other accomplishments of the Ouseburn Partnership include:
The development of the John Dobson-designed former Cluny
Warehouse, into a café, bar and art gallery
the designation of the Ouseburn Valley as a Conservation Area
the development of the entire capital programme through the
scrutiny of an independent “sustainability Indicators Group” which
developed bespoke indicators to ensure sustainability was
Although SRB3 funding for the Partnership finished in 2002, the work is still
being carried forward into a third stage of joint working through the
establishment of a dedicated officer team from Newcastle City Council
working alongside the Ouseburn Trust in shared Resource Centre in the
heart of the Valley.
This has the double benefit of accessible local support for communities as
well as reporting to a community led decision making structure which co-
ordinates and oversees the development and delivery of the Ouseburn
Between 1997 and 2002, the £2.5m SRB funded Ouseburn Partnership
turned round the decline of the area by a concentrated package of
housing, business, leisure, cultural, security, heritage and environmental
Between 2003 and 2008 almost 800 new dwellings and over 10,000 square
metres of workshop/office, retail and leisure facilities will be developed.
In parallel, a number of workspace creation projects aimed at arts and
culture, ICT and new media businesses are proposed. These will build on
the existing provision of space for micro businesses in the valley.
In total the Ouseburn Urban Village will deliver 300,000 sq. ft. of new and
refurbished workspace, £12m public sector and £140m private sector
investment, 600 jobs, a wide range of accommodation for micro-businesses
and a large, unique and vibrant cultural quarter.
The success of the Regeneration of the Ouseburn Valley hinges on the
support of the local community, whose participation is facilitated at all
levels as a matter of protocol.
Figure 5 Outputs, 2003 - 2005
Businesses Floor space Jobs Jobs
assisted improved created safeguarded
Grants 28.00 13,635.00 41.00 162.00
Spot Business Grants 14.00 7,143.00 16.00 100.00
Woods Pottery 4.00 350.00 8.00 0.00
Shieldfield 10.00 830.00 8.00 8.00
Creative Workspace 3.00 1,782.00 17.00 32.00
TOTAL 59.00 23,740.00 90.00 302.00
Source: Newcastle City Council
5.3 Culture can strengthen communities and bring them together
in many more modest ways too. ‘Wish You Were Here’ is a reminiscence
project with older people from across North Tyneside. Using 1920s and
30s railway posters in the Tyne and Wear Museum collections as
inspiration, the group made works of art based on their holiday memories.
Reminiscences were recorded and a CD and booklet produced. The final
art pieces are to be made into posters for display at Tynemouth Metro
Station and North Tyneside library venues.
‘Pick ‘n’ Mix’ was a collaborative project involving The Community Arts
Project in North Tyneside and Tyne and Wear Museums from March to July
2004. This was a large project where community groups and the general
public produced art work in various media including video, ceramics,
performance, glass and creative writing. Supported by three artists,
participants explored an object that had great importance in their lives.
The finished work was exhibited in the Discovery Museum‟s „People‟s
Gallery‟ from July to August.
Sunderland‟s Tyne and Wear Museums Outreach Officer is producing a
film with young asylum seekers and refugees designed to raise awareness
and challenge myths about refugees and asylum seekers. The project will
present their oral history and experiences to schools and community
In December 2004 Tyne and Wear museums commissioned research into
the social impact of their work; it is due for completion at the end of May
2005. In addition to a literature review and examination of national museum
statistics, the project is examining four different projects to identify where
there has (potentially) been a measurable social impact on those involved.
Early indications are that projects and programmes run by the museums
do have more than a temporary effect on those taking part.
6 Social policy benefits
CATHOR asks how we can measure the benefits, or added value, that culture
brings to delivering key social policy objectives.
6.1 Measuring the benefits that culture brings to delivering social
policy objectives is an issue of current concern to the University of
Northumbria‟s Centre for Public Policy (CPP). The department is hoping to
recruit a student to study on a full time basis towards a PhD degree
examining the impact of culture on key areas of social policy in the North
East of England. The research themes will include the role of heritage in
regeneration, the influence of culture and cultural activities on the health of
the region, measuring the impact of culture on social policies, and cultural
distinctiveness as a driver of economic vitality in English regions. 34
While it is important to track the relationship between culture and social
policy, it is also important that the basis for the relationship is clear.
“Cultural organisations and their funding bodies have become very good
at describing their value in terms of social outcomes. Tackling exclusion,
increasing diversity and contributing to economic development are all
familiar justifications in grant applications,” according to the independent
think-tank DEMOS. 35
“But by talking in functional terms about the value of culture, cultural
organisations have lost the ability to describe their real purpose –
producing good work that enriches people‟s lives. Culture now delivers
government policy by other means.
“The effect has been to favour individuals and organisations that have
become fluent in the jargon of public policy. Funding decisions have
become safe, and cultural producers have tailored their outputs to meet
the latest round policy priority.”
7. Short and long term
CATHOR asks about the incentives which might be put in place to align
developers’ short term objectives with the longer term cultural and social
aspirations of the community.
7.1 In the south of the region – where a process of rapid
regeneration has begun – Tees Valley Regeneration employs the Percent
for Art process and Section 106 Agreements (which can place restrictions
on developers, even requiring them to carry out tasks which will provide
University of Northumbria (2005) draft advertisement
Holden, J. (2004) Capturing Cultural Value: How culture has become a tool of government
policy Promotional text, Demos
They are also adopting a partnership approach. Tees Valley Regeneration
has recognised this by the appointment of a commissioning art advisor to
the company by the Arts Council of England, North East.
8 Making the economic case
CATHOR asks how we can ensure that the gentrification of an area does not
lead to displacement. It also asks how urban regeneration can strike a
balance between meeting the needs of the so-called ‘creative class’ and the
needs of the wider community, particularly those from disadvantaged groups.
8.1 Gentrification undoubtedly leads to displacement. The CABE
report on parks, for example, draws a correlation between the
improvements in Mowbray Park, Sunderland Museum and the Winter
Gardens, and a rise in house prices which will necessarily lead to some
There is also evidence of „brain gain‟36 For the first time in a decade, more
people are moving into the North East than are leaving. Although seen as a
sign of the region‟s resurgence, the influx threatens to displace
communities, particularly in desirable urban centres, with the attendant
risk of a loss of distinctiveness.
However, displacement can be ameliorated (the Ouseburn Valley, which
has evolved through the collaboration of the indigenous community, is one
A balance can be struck between the needs of the wider community and
the „creative class‟, however. The CISIR research, for example, found that
the overwhelming majority of NewcastleGateshead residents (93%)
appear to value arts and cultural activities in their area. A similarly high
proportion (94%) say they would not feel out of place in an art gallery,
museum or theatre.
The ‘Curiosity Shop’ is a travelling museum which sets up in vacant shops
in town centres across the Tees Valley. A vacant unit on Redcar High Street
was identified as a location, and the Curiosity Shop moved in. Within the
first 12 days it attracted 23,000 visitors. The unit was previously vacant for
almost two years, and no significant interest had been expressed in it for
the previous 12 months. Within the first two weeks of operation, four
enquiries were lodged about rental. In addition, local traders have
reported an increase in footfall through their own premises, which they
suggest may be due to the opening.
Inclusiveness, access for all, and respect for the wider communities – these
are some of the pre-conditions for the success of projects like The Sage
Doward, J. & Reilly, T.(2003) Loft dwellers Toon in, turn on to North Observer, 7
Gateshead. It was an issue captured by author David Boyle at a Culture
North East seminar37 and in his recent publication Authenticity38. “There‟s
the rise of art galleries – Britain‟s new Tate modern, in an old power station
on the Thames, was packed, receiving over five million visitors in its first
year, while the hopelessly middlebrow Millennium Dome struggled to
achieve half its audience,” he wrote. “The new Lowry Gallery in
Manchester has been very popular while the National Museum of Pop in
Sheffield stayed empty. Galleries and concert halls successfully led the
regeneration of impoverished cities like Gateshead, Salford and Walsall.”
9 Culture and employment
CATHOR asks how we can ensure that cultural regeneration projects offer a
range of employment prospects for the local community, not just low paid
9.1 Cultural heritage and archaeology are growing employment
areas in the twenty-first century. Now that archaeology is embraced as part
of the planning process, there is a national need for people with
archaeological skills. Universities cannot meet this need because they
cannot offer practical on-the-job training, and there are therefore real
opportunities in the heritage and museum sector.
For 20 years training programmes have been run at Arbeia Roman Fort,
South Shields, where there is a long-running research excavation. At
present New Deal placements work towards VQ units in field archaeology,
and opportunities exist in archaeological reconstruction and site
presentation. Every year for the last five years between three and six
trainees has gone on to employment with Tyne and Wear Museums, while
others have found employment with other archaeological organisations in
Of a permanent staff of 17 in the Archaeology Department based at South
Shields, six began their careers on training schemes for unemployed
people, including two managers (Keepers of Archaeology). Of a
temporary staff of 18, eight have come from a training background, and the
longest of these contracts extends back to 1998.
Between November 2001 and December 2003 an additional ESF funded
scheme was bolted on to the New Deal programmes. By the end of the
project three jobless people from key wards in South Tyneside had
obtained employment with Tyne and Wear Museums and two of these were
still in post after six months.
Culture North East, (2005) Food for thought Live Theatre, Newcastle 7 March
Boyle, D. (2003) ‘Authenticity’ p.128 Flamingo
The South Tyneside Heritage Trail is a community-inspired project which
strikes an effective balance between meeting the needs of the so-called
„creative class‟ and the needs of the wider community, particularly those
from disadvantaged groups (in this case, people who are unemployed.)
9.2 Case study: South Tyneside Heritage Trail
The Borough of South Tyneside has been through a difficult time in recent
decades: over half of their „Super Output Areas‟ are among the most
deprived 20% in the country and high levels of unemployment and
deprivation have proved to be major obstacles.
Community spirit is still strong, though: in 2002, during the extensive
consultation carried out whilst developing the Borough‟s Cultural Strategy,
it quickly became clear that „wider sense of place‟ was a recurring subject
of interest with the public.
The local history section of the Central Library attracts over 20,000 visits
each year, local history groups thrive across South Tyneside, and a survey
carried out by their countryside team identified local history and heritage
trails as a key area of need.
A „Heritage Forum‟ was formed to stimulate community involvement in
those areas of the Cultural Strategy, and after only two meetings the
membership topped 100.
A heritage mapping exercise demonstrated a significant demand to
integrate the many points of culture and heritage around South Tyneside.
Encouraged by NewcastleGateshead Initiative estimates that around
20,000 jobs linked to tourism and culture could be created in the coming
years, the Borough set about developing the Heritage Trail.
This project is designed to contribute to the regeneration of South
Tyneside and improve the economic and employment opportunities for
residents of the borough, by:
Building the employment experience, personal skills and qualification
capacity of local people to enable them to gain access to employment in
the cultural services sector of South Tyneside and the wider Tyne and
The creation of virtual collections and the provision of e-based learning
journeys based on cultural and heritage materials.
Provide the infrastructure of a Heritage Trail, where appropriate linking
together of cultural venues for self-guided walks, and provide a
planned itinerary of regular guided tours, associated activities and
Improve the immediate environment and visitor information in relation
to the Borough‟s cultural assets.
Provide a co-ordinated approach to the various cultural and heritage
walks, routes and activities which take place across the Borough on a
planned but infrequent basis.” 39
Employment prospects for the local community
The Trail is staffed by wardens, employed through an Intermediate Labour
Market (ILM) grant. Each is paid the national minimum wage, and during
their 52 week placement they acquire the flexible skills, to NVQ level 2,
needed to work in the cultural, tourism or customer care related sectors.
Success rates for employment following the scheme are expected to be at
90% based on similar ILM schemes.
There trail also provides „informal learning opportunities‟.
“The trail is not only used by people who consciously walk parts of it. It
was observed that panels are frequently read by people just passing by
especially when the panels are in prominent attractive places. This
observation was also reinforced by the national trust wardens…panels
even invite interaction between strangers who share their lives and
More than 1000 people have participated in the trail since its inception in
May 2003, and 10,000 maps have been distributed in South Tyneside and to
regional Tourist Information Centres.
Surveys by South Tyneside Council indicate that the trail-led walk activities
68% regional visitors
13% from elsewhere in the UK
19% South Tyneside residents
31% of people using the trail were employed
25% of people using the trail were housewives
31% of people using the trail were retired
13% of people using the trail were students
According to Heather Walton, Cultural Development Officer (Arts,
Heritage & Museums), “Only one of the 32 panels has received any
significant vandalism which is amazing as many of the areas the panels are
LGC Awards 2005, Community Involvement Awards
Gisela Hoppe, Newcastle University December 2004 – An historic past – ‘The role of
heritage in the regeneration of South Tyneside’
located in frequently receive massive vandalism. This could be taken as a
sign that the trail has engaged the communities they are located in.”
CATHOR asks what else can be done to strengthen partnerships.
10.1 Partnership working is a key element of successful culture-led
regeneration (Ouseburn Valley and Grainger Town are just two of the
examples cited in this report).
The culture10 initiative is another. Several years of multi-agency effort
went into the NewcastleGateshead Initiative-led bid for the 2008 European
Capital of Culture title. Despite going into the final competitive round as
the bookies‟ favourite, the mantle went to Liverpool. Within days of the
announcement, resources from seven different organisations, each with
their own priorities, were integrated into one programme with a five year
Between now and 2010 the programme will bring a series of world-class
events, exhibitions, commissions and festivals to the area. Each year the
programme will animate buildings and bring a carnival feel to both local
residents and people from all over the world.
None of this is to say that culture10 does not have issues to resolve (for
example, establishing measurement criteria acceptable to seven funding
bodies will be a challenge) but it does demonstrate that the region can
quickly, effectively, and ambitiously create cultural partnerships.
11 Issues arising
11.1 That culture influences regeneration is beyond doubt. But in
doing so, it has encountered a significant challenge: capital funding,
particularly from government-funded development agencies, is awarded
in anticipation of a narrow range of direct, measurable outputs – jobs or
learning opportunities created, for example.
Yet the benefits of cultural interventions are greater than the outputs
measured in this way. When asked, people say that culture improves their
lives. Durham County Council, for example, found that 77% of staff said
that a sculpture park in the grounds of County Hall improved their working
environment. It is likely that an improved working environment will have
made them more productive, which will translate into direct measures of
No-one consulted during this study questioned the imperative to capture
empirical evidence of the direct impact of investment in cultural projects.
But many said that indirect measures – a sense of wellbeing, or pride, or
life satisfaction, for example - should also be recognised as significant
factors in the complex equation of measuring culture-led regeneration.
A more inclusive approach is already being taken in other sectors. The
Government‟s Sustainable Development Strategy41 , for example, states:
"The issue of wellbeing lies at the heart of sustainable development, and it
remains important to develop appropriate well-being indicators.”
Nic Marks, Head of Well-being Research at the New Economics Foundation
welcomes the strategy. ”The fact that such a strong commitment to
assessing well-being and developing policies that promote well-being, has
been made, is of huge political significance,” he said. “We are very
hopeful that in time we will work with the UK government on both
developing the indicator set and identifying policies that promote well-
Mr Marks notes that by the end of 2006 the Government intends to sponsor
cross-disciplinary work to bring together existing research and
international experience and to explore how policies might change with an
explicit wellbeing focus.
11.2 A new framework
This study has reflected a rapidly evolving national debate in which the
foundations of traditional assessment processes are being questioned.
People who are interested in the relationship between culture and
regeneration are aware that only part of the story is being told, and that as
a consequence the true value of their activity is not understood. But it is
their responsibility to resolve this difficulty. They must articulate their case
in ways which are understood by the widest possible constituency if they
wish to be accepted, and if they expect resources to follow.
Over the next few months, the NewcastleGateshead Initiative will be
devising an assessment process that will satisfy the needs of the private
and public sector contributors to the culture10 programme. At the same
time, the University of Northumbria is hoping to appoint a PhD student to
develop a set of indicators by which to measure cultural activity.
Meanwhile, many other public and private sector organisations throughout
the North East will be considering funding applications for cultural
But these efforts are not being co-ordinated, and they are unlikely to
resolve the issues at the heart of this debate. Culture North East has called
Foreword to ‘Securing the Future’ – available at http://www.sustainable-
Marks, N: 2005: Widely circulated email to cultural colleagues, 22 March
for “a new progressive mindset which feeds directly into the much wider
debate on policy impact, public value and the production of evidence.”43
A new, holistic, robust and widely understood framework for measuring
the impact of culture on regeneration is required. But if this is to be
achieved, it cannot be done locally. Although the North East has many
compelling examples of best practice, this is an issue which requires
Through CATHOR, DCMS has crystallised the issues underlying the
debate. The Department now an excellent opportunity to build on the
momentum that it has created.
A Regional Cultural Research Strategy and Action Plan for the North East of England, 2005 – 2006
Culture at the Heart of Regeneration – DCMS June 2004
Icons, cities and beyond
How can we make sure that landmark cultural buildings achieve the right
balance between maintaining cultural excellence and relevance to their
What role does culture have to play in tackling the complexities of rural
regeneration, and what evidence is there of what works best?
We have found that strong leadership has been the key to driving through
cultural innovation. But innovation can be controversial and is often
opposed by local communities. How can we achieve a balance between
leadership and responding to the concerns of local communities?
A sense of place
Many claim that public art has impacts beyond its aesthetic value, but we
have little evidence of this. Are there any ways of measuring wider impact,
and do you have any examples?
What more can be done to encourage developers and planners to include
culture in regeneration strategies and programmes?
Delivering for communities, with communities
What role does culture have to play in strengthening communities and
bringing different social groups together? Do you have any evidence
How can we measure the benefits, or added value, that culture brings to
delivering key social policy objectives?
What incentives could be put in place to align developers‟ short term
objectives with the longer term cultural and social aspirations of the
Making the economic case
How do we ensure that the gentrification of an area does not lead to
In urban regeneration, how de we strike a balance between meeting the
needs of the so-called „creative class‟ and the needs of the wider
community, particularly those from disadvantaged groups?
How can we ensure that cultural regeneration projects offer a range of
employment prospects for the local community, not just low paid service
jobs? Is there an argument for training as an element of such regeneration
and how might this be incorporated?
Next steps: where do we go from here?
Are these the right priorities for action?
What else could be done to strengthen partnerships?
What else could be done to support those directly involved in
Do you have any evidence-based examples of culture‟s impact on
What else should be done to strengthen the evidence of culture‟s role and
impact on regeneration?